Hair loss is a common concern among men and women alike and is triggered by a variety of factors from diet to your DNA’s composition. Being aware of your hair and the techniques in which you can best protect it will add longevity to your hair and your happiness. Discover information on the types of hair woes and find resolutions for them directly from the experts.
There are several kinds of hair loss. For example, one may experience hair fall due to dirty hair, dandruff, nutrient deficiency, hormonal changes, unhealthy lifestyle, alopecia condition. Some are treatable & preventable whereas some cannot be reversed. Know about them in this section.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss
Here are some symptoms of hair loss that you should check out:
Gradual hair thinning: Losing hair on top of the head is the most common hair loss type and this is common in people of all age groups from children to older adults. In men, hairline starts to recede whereas, in women, broadening of hair partition is seen.
Sudden hair loss: Most people fall in this category. There are various reasons behind sudden hair loss such as emotional turmoil, physical setbacks, etc. In such cases, you may experience hair fall for minute cases such as tying hair tightly, combing and washing hair, etc. This is temporary hair loss that can be fixed by reversing the cause of damage.
Bald patches: In some cases, people lose hair in a pattern. This could be circular or patchy in different parts including the scalp, eyebrows, beard, etc. The skin becomes irritated and itchy in the parts of hair loss.
Hair loss on the full body: One may lose hair on the entire body because of various medical conditions and treatments including chemotherapy. If you experience hair loss because of this, don’t worry as your hair would grow back once the treatment is over.
Dr. T.N Rekha Singh, Senior Consultant Dermatologist at Oliva Skin and Hair Clinic says that if your hair loss is persistent, you must see a trichologist to get the issue resolved. Timely medical intervention can prevent the condition from becoming severe.
What causes hair loss?
On average, a person loses 50 to 100 hair a day which is considered normal. We have millions of hair and so losing some a day goes unnoticed. This hair gets replaced with new hair but when the fallen hair doesn’t get replaced, it is hair loss. There are several causing factors for hair loss such as:
Hereditary or Family history: If someone in your family has hair loss or chronic hair loss condition, you can get it too. In most cases, hair loss is hereditary. With age, you begin to lose a certain part of your hair and this condition is known as androgenic alopecia. In simpler terms, pattern baldness- male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. This occurs in patterns wherein you start to lose hair in a certain pattern starting with receding hairline, patchy spots and hair thinning.
Hormonal changes: If your hormones fluctuate or you have a condition that causes hormonal imbalance, you are highly likely to experience hair loss. In women, hair loss typically occurs during puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, thyroid and menopause as your hormones tend to fluctuate a lot at these times.
Medical conditions: If you have scalp infection or immune-related hair disease like alopecia areata, you would experience hair loss that can cause patchy hair loss leading to baldness.
Medicines: There are certain medicinal drugs that can trigger hair loss. If you are taking high dose medicines for arthritis, depression, cancer, hypertension or heart ailments, you may suffer from hair loss.
Stress: This is a prominent cause of hair loss as when you take unnecessary stress that too chronic stress, you can lose your hair. Suffering from an emotional or physical setback is also included in this.
Hair treatments and styling: Excessive heat styling can damage your hair more than you can think. Take any hair care treatment with caution and read all the pros and cons before getting a treatment done.
How can hair loss be treated?
There are several treatment methods that can help in treating temporary hair loss.
If you consult a doctor for your hair loss condition, they may prescribe a medicinal course that may range from weeks to months. Medicines are the first-line treatment and if it doesn’t show favourable results, you need to proceed with other hair loss treatments. Over-the-counter medicines including oral pills and topical ointments(creams and gels) that are required to be applied to the affected area. Some people show hair growth after medicines whereas some people don’t. Instead, they experience certain side-effects that are linked with these medicines. The possible side-effects are vision loss, fluid retention, cataracts, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, sore throat, infections, easy bruising, hoarseness, etc.
Hair Transplant Surgery
This has become one of the common surgical procedures to treat hair loss. This doesn’t treat hair loss but aims to regain lost confidence. This surgery involves transplanting small skin plus carrying hair to the bald patches on your head. This is appropriate for people who have lost hair on the top of their heads. You may need multiple sessions of hair transplant surgery.
In this type of surgery, a surgeon reduces the scalp with less hair and instead, places a piece of scalp with hair on that part. Another method for scalp reduction surgery is the flap. The surgeon would fold scalp with hair on the lesser hairy scalp. These two methods come under scalp reduction. In another surgery named tissue expansion, the surgeon would place a tissue expander under the hair scalp adjacent to the bald spot. After several weeks, the scalp with hair would stretch. In the second session, the expander would be pulled out and placed on the bald spot. However, these surgeries are risky and can cause bleeding, scarring, patchy growth of hair, infection, etc. Thus, you must consider all these risks and side effects while getting the surgery done. Needless to say, surgeries are expensive and do not guarantee promising results.
How can hair loss be prevented?
Here are some tips that if practiced properly can save your hair from falling:
Wash your hair properly
Be gentle with your hair as they are very tender and prone to breakage. People with thin hair need to be extra cautious as their hair may easily break. Use herbal shampoo that doesn't have chemicals in it to provide maximum nutrition to your hair.
Most of us skip this step considering it to be unnecessary. In reality, conditioning is a very important step to lock moisture and prevent breakage or damage to hair.
Avoid heat styling and colouring
If you frequently style your hair with heat tools such as straighteners and curlers, your hair may damage more. Thus avoid heat tools as much as possible. Besides, colouring hair is also risky. This is because most of them have nitrogen in them that is highly damaging. If needed, use herbal colours that don't cause any harm.
Do not tie your hair tightly
Making tight hairstyles can also cause hair loss because this weakens hair from roots. If you are seeing hair loss, tie your hair gently to not put any pressure on your tresses. Massage your scalp regularly as it boosts blood circulation and promotes hair growth.